There is an interesting dichotomy of thought when it comes to laws and rules. Some people say that they hate being tied up in red tape, while others feel that having rules gives them freedom, as they know exactly what behavior is acceptable and what is expected of them. Actually, it’s human nature to want to know what is acceptable and what is considered as being off-limits. Psychiatrists say that most babies test their parents from an early age just to discover what the boundaries are. They do this not to annoy their parents, but to feel secure that they know what their parameters of behavior are.
It is little different in the workplace, and this is where having a code of conduct is essential for each business. Of course, just having the codes that gather dust in a manual or are never accessed on the website serves little purpose. As a result, most companies ensure that code of conduct training takes place, and this should usually be incorporated into an initial induction program.
What should be covered in a code of conduct?
If you are drawing up a code from scratch, you should consider the legal, ethical, and moral standards that you would like to have in your organization. As you will be considering the standard of acceptable work, the code should include the hours of work and the punctuality needed. It’s always a good idea to consult with a Human Resources or an Industrial Relations expert when drawing up these codes to ensure that they are legally enforceable. For example, it isn’t possible to formally demand longer hours of work than are permitted by laws governing employment conditions.
The difference between private and business behavior
Your code should also reflect the kind of behaviors you need staff to follow. Although it might seems obvious, some people enter the working world either straight from school or from a university or college where they have had a lot of freedom, and they simply don’t understand that a place of work is different from a home and that different rules apply. They might not be aware of how to handle confidential material, they might not understand that any kind of prejudicial behavior could be construed as harassment, and they might also think that the telephones are for free use for personal calls. Absurd as it may sound, many employees are dismissed for their abuse of the Internet – some even using it to download porn or to launch troll attacks on others that can be traced back to the company domain. For all these reasons, having clear guidelines and having thorough training in the code of conduct will make for a much more organized and efficient workplace.